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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shape Your Inner Voice To Achieve Success

After talking about your own self-esteem, let’s look at what else stands in your way - your inner
voice. What is it saying to you? Is it a positive one or a negative one?

For example, you might be saying: ‘It’s all right for her, she had a good education, of course she is more confident than me.’
Or ‘He’s only got to the top because he sucked up to the boss’, or ‘... his father owns the company’, or ‘... he’s cleverer than I am’.

The above are faulty inner dialogues – they are hostile and embittered and focus on you. If you don’t correct them then they will affect your body language and therefore the signals you are giving out to other people so that in turn you behave aggressively; i.e. you look, move and sound surly, or bitter, your expression is hard and resentful, you may make cryptic remarks and snide comments. Is this the sort of person you want to be? How do you think others will react to you? Would you want to be around a person like this and would you be willing to do as they asked? I doubt it.

Or instead of getting aggressive you may become submissive. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others and you are coming off the worse, you are constantly putting yourself down. Or you may be allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity. Your self-esteem will be low and your body language will be become hunched and withdrawn. You want to fade into the background and not be noticed. Will you take the initiative and forge new relationships? Will other people be inspired to cooperate with you? Of course they won’t.

You may be dealing with someone who is rude or difficult and your inner dialogue may be saying something like, ‘I wish that person wasn’t so difficult, they’re a right pain in the …’ ‘I can’t stand that person. I wish they would see my point of view, or act like me.’

When you hear these negative, prejudiced voices say STOP. Then get a more positive dialogue going. Here are some to help you:
  • I have an open mind.
  • I will treat this person fairly.
  • I can keep calm.
  • I am interested in this person and what they have to say.
  • I may not agree with this person but he/she has a right to his/her point of view.
  • I may not like this person but I can treat him decently and fairly.
If any of these phrases are going through your head what signals do you think your body language is giving out?

Yes, you will be looking at the other person, giving them good eye contact. Your facial expression will be relaxed and interested. You may even have your head on one side as you listen to them. Your posture will be upright, but not stiff, open and relaxed, you may even be leaning more

Try smiling at a difficult person, genuinely smiling; try saying something nice to them instead of getting upset or hostile. Think of them rather than focusing on what hurts and upsets you. Take your difficult person by surprise by complimenting them. I am not promising that it will work every time but it will make you feel better.

Remember: you cannot change another person; you can only change yourself. By changing the way you think, act and interact with others you will change the response you receive in return.

Thinking more confidently may take some time and indeed some practice but it will help you to communicate more confidently.